How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
How can I tell if cracks in the wall or floor are getting worse or staying the same?
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Cracks in a home, even small ones, are easy to obsess about. Where did that come from? Is it just minor settlement, seasonal expansion/contraction due to temperature or humidity, or something much worse? Probably just a garden-variety little crack and nothing to be concerned about. But, since a house is the your biggest investment, you worry.
A simple way to keep track of whether the crack is getting worse or not is to install a crack monitor over it. The device is also called a crack gauge and will verify both horizontal and vertical movement of a crack. You can buy one online for about $30.
After mounting over the crack with the red hairlines aligned in both directions, you can check occasionally for any signs of movement. Obviously, the homeowner that mounted the crack monitor in the photo above already knew there was a big problem and is using the device to check the progress of it.
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To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:
• What are the common problems of different types of house foundations?
• How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil?
• What is the difference between soil subsidence, heave, creep, and settlement?
• How much ventilation is required for the under-floor crawl space of a home?
• What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?
• What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall?
• How can I tell if a diagonal crack in drywall at the corner of a window or door indicates a structural problem?
• What causes the surface of old bricks to erode away into sandy powder?
• What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction?
• Should I buy a house with a crawl space?
• There's cracks running along the home's concrete tie beam. What's wrong?
• What would cause long horizontal lines of brick mortar to fall out?
• How do I recognize structural problems in a retaining wall?
• What is engineered wood siding?
• Should I buy a house that has had foundation repair?
• What is a "continuous load path”?
• How can I tell if cracks in the garage floor are a problem or not?
• What do you look for when inspecting vinyl siding?
• Why is housewrap installed on exterior walls under the siding?
• How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?
• Why did so many concrete block homes collapse in Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael?
• How can I tell if the concrete block walls of my house have vertical steel and concrete reinforcement?
• Should I buy a house with structural problems?
• What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls?
• What causes cracks in the walls and floors of a house?
• How can I tell if the exterior walls of a house are concrete block (CBS) or wood or brick?
Visit our EXTERIOR WALLS AND STRUCTURE page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.
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